We have been eagerly waiting for Spring to arrive in Carroll County where recently the rails have begun to emerge from the snow cover. This gave us enough encouragement to set off with #573 last week to plow the line. We did well going to Conway and back, with only some of the crossings needing attention with the pick and shovel. The farm crossings were the worst where the manure spreaders seem to drop some part of their load each time they jounce across! We reversed direction at Conway and headed for Bartlett. Some deep snow and a few downed trees were encountered, but we made fairly good time all the way to the Bear Peak crossing (just past Attitash), and then it began to get tough.

The Right of Way is used for cross country skiing from Bear Peak to Albany Ave. in Bartlett Village, and it is groomed regularly. The grooming compresses the snow heavily, and it is only plowed out with difficulty. We had to use the “go ahead & back up” method of plowing. In other words, #573 would nose into the snow and ice and go as far as she could until she lost traction, then she’d back up and run ahead again into the drift that she had just left behind. We used this method until we reached Rolling Ridge Road, which is about a mile from our intended destination at Albany Ave. At this point, we decided that discretion was the better part of valor so the plow extra returned to North Conway. I contacted the trail operator, and they graciously came out the next day with their groomer and dug the remaining ice pack off of the rails. We have to go out and do a formal track inspection, but so far it looks like the line has come through the winter with no major issues. Always a good thing!

The work in the Roundhouse continues unabated. On track #1 coach 6743 has received its new water operated toilet where before a chemical toilet was in use. This required suspending a new stainless steel water tank overhead inside the car and the addition of a new stainless holding tank underneath. Regular maintenance was also performed on the brakes and the running gear. The car was jacked up and the center pins were lubricated. The car was deemed ‘done’ and was moved out of the shop. At that point GP7 #573 was brought in and received its first 92 day inspection for 2015.

Coach #6739 is still in stall #2. This car has received the lion’s share of our attention during the winter maintenance period. We have performed extensive restoration work on the body of this car, particularly in the area of the window sills and the vestibules which have received a lot of new metal. New vestibule doors were fabricated by Ela Sheet Metal of Fryeburg and are now installed. (Ela also fabricated the tanks for #6743.) The lighting system was upgraded and new oak trim was added to the interior. We also have had many new seat bottoms made from scratch. Our crew (George Small) cuts plywood to the correct size and pre-drills the necessary mounting holes. This forms the base of the seat cushion. We bring these over to Joe Webb and he builds the seat by adding the foam and doing the upholstery work. We find that a nice piece of 5” medium density foam works best in our coach seating. Our thanks to all of the local businesses who are able provide what is needed for our operations.

Work continues on 7470 where we have gathered all the necessary data that is needed to complete a new form 4. There is much to do in the coming months, and so far things are looking good.

By the time you read this we will be operating on weekends. We look forward to seeing you in North Conway sometime this year. Many thanks for your interest and support!

Keep it Safe,

Paul Hallett